Talking Story about Pidgin
Exploring the creole language of Hawai‘i
Talk Story about Pidgin
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Materials for Educators: Section II

Lesson 1: Classroom Debates and Discussions

These activities are designed to warm students up to the following lessons involving Pidgin. Any of the lessons on language awareness in Section 1 can also serve this purpose, but these activities provide very simple and straightforward tasks that can be accomplished in a short amount of time.

DEBATES: For each debate, divide the students into two groups and then write the following sentences on the board. Each group must take a PRO or CON side and develop an argument with a set of points to present to the opposing side.

 

DEBATE 1: Is Pidgin a language? Why or why not?

DEBATE 2: “Everybody still tawk broken English.” True or not true?

 

DISCUSSION: In small groups, ask students to take on the following task:
Many people think Pidgin is a detriment to society. Come up with five ways that Pidgin benefits society.

 

 

Lesson 2: Orthography and Pidgin

Many people wonder how they should write Pidgin. The truth is that there is no easy answer for this question. People who write in Pidgin also have different perspectives about this.  One answer is that it really depends on the audience and the purpose of the writing. So, the jury is still out! Nevertheless, the fact that Pidgin does not currently have a single agreed-upon system is an interesting starting point for thinking more about language, representing speech in writing, and the politics of writing a language which many people think of only as a spoken language.


1. Warm Up Activity

Come up with ways to write the following words with your own invented Pidgin writing system:

a. _____________ reed b. _____________  3   _____________ the
  _____________ red   _____________ thing   _____________ two
c. _____________ like   d. _____________ talk e. _____________ act
  _____________ lick   _____________ take   _____________ ate

What considerations about language differences between Pidgin and English does this raise? What challenges did you face in figuring out how to write these words in Pidgin?


2. Translation Activity

Consider how you would write the following excerpt of Darrell Lum’s story “No Pass Back” (Bamboo Ridge Press, 1990) in Pidgin. This exercise will make you consider how Pidgin and English are different in sound and grammar.

 

The next time, Alfred was absent so a Kindergarten kid started bothering me for a horsey back ride. ‘Nah, nah,’ I told him, ‘I am the substitute for basketball game.’  Then Benjamin came up to me and asked me if I wanted to play basketball for his side.

__________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________

 

 

Now consider how Lum himself chose to represent this in Pidgin.

  “Next time, Alfred was absent so one kinnigahden kid started fo bahdah me fo give him one horsey back ride. ‘Nah, nah,’ I went tell um, ‘I stay substatute fo basketball.’ Den Benjamen went come by me and ask me if I like play basketball fo his side.”  

 

What are the main differences between the English translation and Lum’s original? See below for many of the answers:

Pronunciatio

1. Kindergarten  = kinnigahden

- Pidgin is ‘r-less’ at the ends of syllables or words
- Pidgin blends consonant clusters like ‘nd’ to the first sound (‘nn’)

2. bother  = bahdah

- Pidgin is ‘r-less’ (see above)
- Some English speakers pronounce ‘bother’ with the vowel in ‘law’; Pidgin uses the vowel in ‘father’

3. then  = den

- some English ‘th’ sounds are equal to ‘d’ in Pidgin

Grammar and vocabulary

1. a  = one

- Different article systems

2. started bothering = started fo bahdah

- Different gerunds (noun forms of verb)

3. I am the substitute = I stay substatute

- Stative verbs: Pidgin ‘stay’ can be used to describe states of being; ‘to be’ is used in English

4. came up to me = went come by me

- Past tense formation
- different use of prepositions

5. want  = like 

- different meanings of ‘like’

Activity 3. What is Pidgin anyways?
Let’s look at the first part of the letter written by Kalani Fukumoto (Section 1, Activity 3)

  Wen Aloha Airlines went down, our government officials felt so badly, dey stey propose free medical coverage for all of these furloughed people, free counseling too. Real good-hearted officials we get.  

 

1. Is the first part of the first sentence in Pidgin (see below)? How can you tell?

  Wen Aloha Airlines went down  

 

2. Is the second part of the same sentence entirely in Pidgin? How can you tell?

  our government officials felt so badly, dey stey propose free medical coverage for all of these furloughed people, free counseling too.  

 

3. What might be some reasons for spelling words in a Pidgin way but retaining the grammar of English? (e.g., “Wen Aloha Airlines went down”)

 

4. Why might some English words be mixed in with Pidgin? (e.g., dey stey propose free medical coverage for all of these people) [why not dese?]

4. Odo orthography. Other options for orthography include the Odo system, which was developed by Dr. Carol Odo in the 1970s at the University of Hawai‘i. This system is usually considered much harder to read by Pidgin speakers. Try to read the following excerpt from Lee Tonouchi’s “Pijin Wawrz” (from Da Word, Bamboo Ridge Press, p. 130):

  De tawt hi waz wan a dem. Big Ben da bichreya. Hi wen plea ap hiz Loko rutz, bat hi wen put daun hiz kalchrol heritej. æfta da riilekshenz awv 2022 hiz bainæriz wen go awl balistik æn hiz progræmin kam awl hæmajæng.  

 

Discussion Question: Can you think of a reason why making Pidgin look very different from English might be a good thing to do?

The Odo Orthography


Note: Odo provides symbols for basilectal (a ‘heavy’ variety closer to the original language) and acrolectal (a ‘lighter’ variety heavily influenced by English) varieties of Pidgin.

Basilectal

Acrolectal

 

 

Vowels

Examples

English Equivalents

i

 

hit, liv, mi

hit/heat, live/leave, me

 

i

hit, liv, mi

hit, live, me

ei

ei

eij, leit

age, late

e

e

eapawt, mek

airport, make

æ (ae)

æ (ae)

æk, tærabol

act, terrible

a

a

leita, aloha

later, aloha

aw

aw

tawk, bawt

talk, bought

o

o

brok, oke

broke, okay

ou

ou

vout, gout

vote, goat

u

u

uji, luk

‘yucky’, look

ai

ai

ai, laik

I, like

au

au

au au, maut

‘bathe’, mouth

oi

oi

boi, ointment

boy, ointment

r

r

rt, wrd, prifr

earth, word, prefer

 

ii

hiit, liiv

heat, leave

 

uu

ruuki, shuu

rookie, shoe

 

Consonants

Examples

English Equivalents

p

p

pau, pepa

‘finish’, paper

t

t

tita, fait

‘sister’, fight

k

k

tek, joka

take, joker

b

b

bebe, raba

baby, robber/rubber

d

d

dawg, kad

dog, card

g

g

baga, hambag

bugger, humbug

h

h

hauzit, hæd

‘hello’, had

f

f

fani, æfta

funny, after

v

v

neva, hæv

never, have

Basilectal

Acrolectal

 

 

s

s

samting, mas

something, must

z

z

izi, hauzit

easy, ‘hello’

ch

ch

chrai, bachi

try, ‘retribution’

sh

sh

shchrit, shuga

street, sugar

j

j

jraiv, baj

drive, barge

m

m

make, hemo

‘die’, ‘remove’

n

n

nais, entatein

nice, entertain

ng

ng

ring, bængk

ring, bank

r

r

krai, rabish

cry, rubbish

l

l

lolo, ple, pul

‘stupid’, play, pull

y

y

yæ, kyut

yeah, cute

w

w

kwik, wea

quick, where

D

D

kaDaoke, taDantaDan

karaoke, ‘acting stupid’

ts

ts

tsunami, shiatsu

tsunami, shiatsu

 

th

thin, pæth

thin, path

 

dh

dha, bridh

the, breathe

 

zh

mezha, yuzhol

measure, usual

 

hw

hwat, hwer

what, where

 

`

Hawai`i, Nu`uanu

Hawai`i, Nu`uanu

ACTIVITY 5. For practice, try to write Lum’s excerpt using Odo:

“Next time, Alfred was absent so one kinnigahden kid started fo bahdah me fo give him one horsey back ride. ‘Nah, nah,’ I went tell um, ‘I stay substatute fo basketball.’ Den Benjamen went come by me and ask me if I like play basketball fo his side.”

 

________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________

________________________________________________________

 

Lesson 3: Grammar Awareness

Objectives: To draw attention to the grammatical differences between Pidgin and English in an engaging way. Importantly, the goal is not to “eradicate” Pidgin and to only focus on English. Instead, students should recognize that their language is a rule-governed system, just like English. Grammar awareness can help students to keep their languages separate when and if they feel they need to. However, it is also important to recognize that many local people mix Pidgin and English together. This is a normal way of using language all over the world. Language mixing and codeswitching is found in literary work such as Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart (Igbo and English), Alani Apio’s Kāmau (English and Pidgin), Lois-Ann Yamanaka’s Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers (Pidgin and English), Yen Mah’s Falling Leaves (Chinese and English), and Sandra Cisneros’s House on Mango Street (Spanish and English).


Activity 1: Is Pidgin shorter than English? (see answers at end of Lesson)

Many people say that Pidgin is ‘faster’ than English because it’s more direct and doesn’t involve as many words. Sometimes this is true, and other times it isn’t true. Ask students to translate the following sentences and then count how many words it takes to produce the same meaning. Which one is shorter? Students should be advised to note that contractions are not allowed in Pidgin, but they are often used in English.

Pidgin

how many words?

English

how many words?

 

We wen walk.

 

3

 

 

 

 

 

Sam doesn’t like loud music.

 

5

 

Akamai dat girl.

 

3

 

 

 

I gon buy one dog.

 

5

 

 

 

 

 

They can’t come.

 

3

 

 

 

Where are those three really big boats?

 

7

 

My braddah guys sleeping.

 

4

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a new building over there.

 

6

Now, work with the students to see if they can explain what the difference is for each of the paired sentences, and also what the grammar point for each one is. For example:


Pidgin “We wen walk.” is the equivalent to English “We walked.” English is shorter in this case. The grammar point that this raises is past tense. In Pidgin, past tense is formed by placing ‘wen’ before the verb. In English, past tense is formed by adding ‘-ed’ to the end of regular verbs (irregular verbs have different forms altogether, e.g. eat/ate; swim/swum). Hence, a major difference here is that the past tense comes before the verb for Pidgin and after for English.


Activity 2: Deductive Grammar


a) Articles: Pidgin and English have different ways of using articles, which are words like ‘the’ and ‘a, an’. Some languages don’t have any articles at all (e.g., Korean, Japanese), but Pidgin does use articles. Compare each of the groups of sentences below to figure out how the articles are used differently and write the rule. The first one is provided for you.

Pidgin

English

 

I like buy da dog I wen see yesterday.

 

I want to buy the dog I saw yesterday.

 

I like buy one dog.

 

I want to buy a dog.

Rule: In Pidgin, ‘da’ is used to refer to something that we already know about (already specified). English ‘the’ is used the same way. Both Pidgin ‘one’ and English ‘a’ refer to something that is not specified or known.

 

 

Da mongoose smart.

 

That mongoose is smart or Mongooses are smart.

 

Smart da mongoose.

 

That mongoose is smart or Mongooses are smart.

 

Mongoose smart.

 

Mongooses are smart.

 

with these examples, students will likely notice that each Pidgin sentence can have slightly different meanings since word order creates different emphasis. However, English can only represent the same meanings in one way. The point here is to focus on the use of articles to express generalizations.

 

 

Keita gon buy one book.

 

Keita’s going to buy a book.

 

Keita gon buy da book.

 

Keita’s going to buy the book.

 

Keita’s gon buy book.

 

Keita’s going to buy books.

 

here, students should notice that Pidgin ‘book’ and English ‘books’ without any articles refers to unknown or unspecified book(s). It is important to notice that ‘buy one book’ and ‘buy book’ in Pidgin mark the difference between a (single) book and plural books.

b) Auxiliary verbs: Pidgin and English both have auxiliary verbs, which act as linking verbs to main verbs. Here, students will match Pidgin auxiliaries to English ones, keeping in mind that the main verb would look different in English. Each item from the column on the right may be used more than once.

_____   What you stay eat?

_____   We stay eating.

_____   He wen stay eat.

_____   I stay buy da manapua already.

_____   He stay come one old man.

_____   Da teacher pau teach all dis kine story.

a.  has

b. was

c. have

d. are

   

Answers:

d (are you eating)
d (are eating)
b (was eating)
c (have bought)
a (has become)
a (has taught)

 

 

 

 

c) Negation: Pidgin has four ways of doing negation. The following table presents Pidgin sentences in the affirmative, followed by negated versions. The sentences marked with (*) are incorrect, or ungrammatical sentences, in Pidgin. Use this information to come up with 4 rules for Pidgin negation. The sentences are written in Odo orthography, with English translations provided below.

affirmative

negative

Da kæt it fish.
‘The cat eats fish.’

Da kæt no it fish.
‘The cat doesn’t eat fish.’

Da gaiz wrking.
‘The guys are working.’

*Da gaiz no wrking.
Da gaiz nat wrking.
‘The guys aren’t working.’

Dei ste lisining.
‘They’re listening.

*Dei nat ste lisining.
Dei no ste lisining. 
‘They aren’t listening.’

Ai gon tel om.
‘I’ll tell him.’

Ai no gon tel om.
Ai nat gon tel om. 
‘I won’t tell him.’

Mai sista wan bas jraiva.
‘My sister is a bus driver.’

Mai sista nat wan bas jraiva.
‘My sister isn’t a bus driver.’

I kæn du twenti pushap.
‘I can do twenty pushups.’

I no kæn du twenti pushap.
‘I can’t do twenty pushups.’

Da buga braun.
‘The guy is brown.’

Da buga nat braun.
‘The guy isn’t brown.’

Kærol hæftu wok.  
‘Carol has to work.’

Kærol no hæftu wok.  
‘Carol doesn’t have to work.’

Yu sapostu du dæt.
‘You’re supposed to do that.’

Yu nat sapostu du dæt.
‘You’re not supposed to do that.’

Ai wen du om.
‘I did it.’

*Ai no wen du om.
Ai neva du om.
‘I didn’t do it.’

Gat kaukau in da haus.
‘There’s food in the house.’

*No gat kaukau in da haus.
Nomo kaukau in da haus.
‘There isn’t food in the house.’

Nau wi gat ka.
‘Now we have a car.’

*Nau wi no gat ka.
Nau wi nomo ka.
‘Now we don’t have a car.’

 

Rule 1) No______________________________________________

 

Rule 2) Neva   marks negation on past tense in Pidgin.

 

Rule 3) Nat (or no)_______________________________________

 

Rule 4) Nomo___________________________________________


ANSWER KEY
Activity 1


Pidgin

how many words?

English

how many words?

 

We wen walk.

 

3

 

We walked.

 

2

 

Sam no like loud kine music.

 

6

 

Sam doesn’t like loud music.

 

5

 

Akamai dat girl.

 

3

 

That girl is smart.

 

4

 

I gon buy one dog.

 

5

 

I’m going to buy a dog.

 

6

 

Dey no can come.

 

4

 

They can’t come.

 

3

 

Wea dose chri real big boat stay?

 

7

 

Where are those three really big boats?

 

7

 

My braddah guys sleeping.

 

4

 

My brothers are sleeping

 

4

 

Get one new building ova dea

 

6

 

There’s a new building over there.

 

6

Activity 2c

 

The rules for negation are as follows:

 

  • No is used before present tense verbs, including modal verbs like can (‘no can swim’) and present progressive marker stay (‘she no stay running’)
  • Either nat or no can be used before the future tense marker gon
  • Neva is used as past tense negation
  • Nomo is used as a negative existential to mean ‘there isn’t’ or as a negative possessive to mean ‘don’t/doesn’t have’.

 

Lesson 4: The Genre of Autobiographical Fiction

Lee Tonouchi’s Da Word


This lesson addresses:
Standard 2: Literary Response and Analysis— Respond to literary texts from a range of stances: personal, interpretive, critical

 

Benchmark LA.AL.2.5: Differentiate the literary form (e.g., dime novel, political essay) and/or style (e.g., stream of consciousness, vernacular or colloquial language) of two or more selections of American literature

 

Standard 3: Rhetoric—Use rhetorical devices to craft writing appropriate to audience and purpose

 

Benchmark LA.CW.3.9 Adapt writing for different audiences and purposes by including appropriate content and using appropriate language, style, tone, and structure

 

Objectives:

1. Introduce the language of fiction which makes use of dialects and Pidgin
2. Allow students to explore language choice in literature, specifically the use of Pidgin in autobiographical fiction
3. Give students the opportunity to write their own fiction making use of Pidgin
4. Promote Pidgin as a legitimate form of self-expression

Resources needed: Lee Tonouchi’s Da Word (Bamboo Ridge Press, 2001)
Recommended resources: Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (Random House, 1969)

I. Introduction: What is an autobiographical fiction?

  • Brainstorm with the class about the definition of “autobiography”
    1. Write student ideas on the board/overhead projector
    2. Address dictionary definitions of “autobiography”
        • “the biography of a person narrated by himself or herself”
          (Miriam-Webster)
        • “a book about a person's life, written by that person”
          (Cambridge Dictionary)
  • Students answer the “Pre-reading questions” individually and record answers
  • Students share answers to “Pre-reading questions” in a whole-class discussion (while teacher records their answers on the board/overhead projector)
  • As a class, go over “As you read” guidelines (below)
  • Students read Lee Tonouchi’s Da word
  • Students answer the “Post-reading questions” (see below) individually and record answers
  • Small group discussion: students discuss and compare answers to questions in small groups (3-4 students);

Optional: each group will divide the discussion responsibilities and decide who will fill each of the following roles:

- Discussion Moderator: reviews the questions out loud and makes sure that everybody in the group has a turn to participate

- Recorder: Writes down the main points of the discussions

- Presenter(s), can be done by two student who share the task: Present the main ideas from the discussion during the follow-up whole-class discussion

    • Whole class discussion: students participate in a whole-class discussion

     

    II. Pre-reading questions:

    • Have you ever read anything written in Pidgin? If so, what kinds of things have you read in Pidgin? Were they easy or hard to understand? Why?
    • What are some reasons that somebody would write a book in Pidgin?

     

    III. As you read:

    • Circle words or phrases that you do not understand
    • Underline expressions or phrases that you often use or hear used
    • Think about how the reading relates or does not relate to your own experiences

     

    IV. Post-reading questions:

    • Was the writing easy or difficult to read? Why?
    • Why do you think the author chose to write the story in Pidgin?
    • Why do you think the author wrote this story?
    • Which of the author’s ideas do you relate to? Why?
    • Is this an example of an autobiography? Why or why not?

     

    Follow-up Activity 1

    Compare the use of Pidgin in Tonouchi’s Da Word with the ways that Maya Angelou makes use of African American English in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Both books qualify as ‘autobiographical fiction,’ but Angelou’s largely employs AAE for dialogue while Tonouchi uses Pidgin as the narrator’s voice and the dialogue. What explains these choices?

    Other novels which could be explored for use of dialects and other languages include:

    Darrell Lum’s Pass on No Pass Back – Pidgin and English
    Lisa Linn Kanae’s Islands Linked by Ocean – Pidgin and English
    Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart – Igbo and English
    Sandra Cisneros’s House on Mango Street – Spanish and English

     

    Follow-up Activity 2: Student Autobiographical Fiction

    • Homework assignment: Students write their own autobiographies. They may choose to use Pidgin or any other language that they feel is appropriate to tell their stories.
    • In class: Peer feedback. Students swap and comment on one another’s stories
    • Revisions: Students make revisions to their autobiographies based on peer and teacher feedback
    • Compilation: Final drafts of student autobiographies collected (and bound?) as a collective work, available in the school library

     

    Lesson 5: Media Comprehension and Interpretation

    Analysis of Pidgin representation in the mainstream media

    This lesson addresses:
    Benchmark LA.AL.3.4  Describe how the American media affects audiences with different cultural, social, or religious backgrounds and perspectives
    Benchmark LA.AL.3.5  Evaluate the effectiveness and consequences of a wide variety of techniques of American media


    Objectives

    1. Introduce film as a medium for representation of culture and social perspectives
    2. Allow students to engage in critical analysis of media and research projects
    3. Explore the perceptions and representations of Pidgin in mainstream media

    Activity 1:

    • Whole class brainstorming and discussion on how Hawai’i, and specifically Pidgin, is represented in media

    Discussion start-up questions:

      1. What kinds of TV shows, commercials, or movies have you seen about or set in Hawai‘i?
      2. Was Pidgin used? How was it portrayed (negatively or positively)? Why do you think it was portrayed that way? What does it (try to) say about Hawai’i and Pidgin?
    • Show clips from popular media in which (an interpretation) of Pidgin was used. For example, scenes from 50 First Dates, Blue Crush, Lilo and Stitch, North Shore, Honeymoon in Vegas, and Forgetting Sarah Marshall.
    • In small groups (of 3 or 4 students per group), students discuss the above discussion questions
    • Students share the main points of their discussions with the whole class
    • Whole class brainstorming and discussion about local representations of Hawai’i and Pidgin vs. mainland representations (questions of authenticity may emerge here)

     

    Activity 2 (follow-up):

    • Students do research and bring in other representations of Hawai’i and its language (local or mainland) such as film clips, commercials, TV shows, advertisements, etc.
      • Students can explore the language used on Picture Bride (1996) and discuss how authentic this language is for the time it portrayed (1910s).
      • Students can explore the language used in Fishbowl, the film based on Lois-Ann Yamanaka’s celebrated book Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers. The Pidgin in this film is meant to represent Hilo in the 1970s. Students can explore how different the Pidgin in this film is compared to the Pidgin spoken today.
    • Students come up with discussion questions related to their findings and take turns leading class discussions
    • In small groups, or as a whole class, students make a short video, written, or artistic rendition of their own ideas about Hawai’i and its languages (such as short films, commercials, or advertisements), perhaps to be broadcast on Olelo television station

     

    Activity 3: Extension to literature
    Compare media representations with use of Pidgin in James Michener’s Hawai‘i (1959) or in Paul Theroux’s Hotel Honolulu. Both of these novels have been found to have ‘inauthentic Pidgin’ in them. For examples, see below:

    Hawai‘i (Michener 1959, p. 822)

    original text

    problems with Pidgin

    A man got energy for do four t’ings. Eat, work, surf, and make love. But at one time got stuff for only two. For me, surfin’ and makin’ love.”
    “You ever get tired?” Kelly asked.
    “Surfin’? No. I gonna die on an incomin’ wave. Wahines? Tell you da trufe, Kelly, sometime for about ten minutes after Moana Loa sail, I don’ nevah wanna see da kine wahine no mo’, but nex’ day wen anudder ship blow anudder whistle, I’m strip for action.”

    A man ⇒ Da man
    got stuff ⇒ get stuff



    gonna ⇒ gon          an ⇒ one


    don’ nevah wanna see  ⇒ no like see

    Hotel Honolulu (Theroux 2001: 13) 


    original text

    problems with Pidgin

    “Eh, where were you yesterday?”
    “Eh, I was working. ” ”
    “I call you up talfone. ”
    “I never hear. ”
    “Eh, you never dere already. ”
    “Assa madda you, brah? ”

    Eh, where you stay yesterday?

    I wen telephone you.

    Eh, you no stay.

     

    Discussion Questions
    1. Why is it important for literature to have authentic Pidgin?
    2. What are the consequences of inauthentic Pidgin in literature?
    3. Should all authors (local or not) be able to use Pidgin in their writing? What issues does this raise?

     

    LESSON 6: Vocabulary and Concept Development

    Pidgin Vocabulary and English Vocabulary

    Objectives:

    1. Explore the connections between Pidgin vocabulary and English vocabulary
    2. Practice identifying parts of speech
    3. Explore the significance of context in language and vocabulary choice
    4. Practice using thesauruses

    Activity:

    • Divide students into small groups (3 or 4 per group), preferably with at least one Pidgin speaker in each group
    • Each group is given 10 words in Pidgin
    • As a group, using dictionaries and thesauruses as resources, for each word, students come up with:
      1. a definition
      2. the part of speech
      3. an example sentence using the word
      4. an English word with the same or similar meaning
      5. the English word’s definition and part of speech
      6. an example sentence using the English word

    Example:

    Word, part of speech, definition: hybolics – (noun) – fancy or highbrow language, sometimes used to refer to ‘proper’ English

    Example sentence: Professa Tang stay use hybolics, even wen class pau already.

    English equivalent: no single word exists, but phrases like ‘academic language’ or ‘highbrow language’ might be used

    Example sentence: Professor Tang uses academic language even after class.

    • Each group selects one (or more) of their words, definitions and example sentences to share with the class – either orally or written on the board/overhead projector
    • Whole class or small group discussion about which contexts are most appropriate for which language use.

     

    - Discussion start-up questions:

    • When do you use Pidgin/English/other languages?
    • What are the advantages of speaking each language?
    • What are the disadvantages of speaking each language?      

     

    Follow-up Activities:

    • Teacher collects and compiles words, definitions, and example sentences into a list to be distributed to the whole class
    • Vocabulary Quiz on the Pidgin and English words

     

    Lesson 7: Pidgin-English codeswitching in Alani Apio’s Kāmau

    Objectives:
    1. Explore and question the stereotypes and identities connected to Pidgin
    2. Practice critical thinking about what it means (socially, economically, politically, etc.) to use a certain language (in this case, Pidgin).
    3. Analyze language switching as a literary device that adds to the complexity of plot and characterization.

    Materials: This activity centers on scenes 5-8 of the 1994 Kumu Kahua play, Kāmau by Alani Apio. This play, based in contemporary O‘ahu explores themes of tourism, family, and cultural tradition and loss. In these particular scenes, characters switch between English, Pidgin, and Hawaiian to get different reactions and to demonstrate different relationships between characters.

    Definition of codeswitching: (linguistic term) switching between more than one language, i.e., in a conversation.


    General discussion questions (can adapt and specify to text and class):

    • Based on the text, what cultures/beliefs/identities do the different languages represent? Do these ideas conflict with or complicate each other?
    • When do characters switch languages and for what purposes?
    • How do variables like audience and topic affect language choice?
    • How do these literary examples connect with our own language experiences? Is this literature believable? Can we relate?

     

    Follow-up activities:

      • Have students write a short reaction to the examples of codeswitching in PTVH and/or HKWTPY.
      • Do an in-class debate on the issue of codeswitching and Pidgin in Hawai‘i.
        Sample debate topic: Should people have to codeswitch between Pidgin and English in Hawai‘i?
      • Watch the YouTube performance of the spoken-word poem ”Kaona,” in which young poets Jamaica Osorio and Ittai Wong switch back and forth between English and Hawaiian, and read the interview with Jamaica Osorio on the creation of this piece. Write a short reaction about how codeswitching works in this poem:
        Do you find the technique effective? Why/why not? What language choices are made in the poem and why? [interview and video can be found at http://uhviceversa.wordpress.com/osoriokaona/